Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Optimism and health: it pays to look on the bright side of life

A study of 97,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79 by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh has found that those with an optimistic outlook are less likely to develop heart disease. Over the eight years of the study those with generally optimistic dispositions were 14% less likely to die, 9% less likely to develop coronary heart disease and 30% less likely to die of heart complications. Women with high scores on a measure of "cynical hostility" had higher risks of dying. The optimistic women were less likely to smoke, be obese or sedentary and had lower rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. However, even when these factors were taken into account there was still a positive effect for optimism and of course it could be the case that optimism is what motivates people to adopt healthier behaviour in the first place.

You can find out more about this research at


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